While everyone’s path to addiction recovery is different, rebuilding damaged relationships is one of the first goals many people have after they achieve sobriety. Isolation, deception and secrecy are defining characteristics of active addiction, all of which undermine trust and intimacy. After driving others away with your self-destructive behavior, making amends is one way to start repairing those connections.
The Value of Making Amends
Completing a rehab program is an accomplishment to be proud of, but it’s only the first step on a lifelong journey toward sobriety. For sustained success, you’ll need to surround yourself with a robust support system of people who will cheer you on as you work toward your goals.
Though some of these supporters might be new friends you meet in treatment or group therapy, it’s also vital to reconnect with people you knew before seeking help. However, they will likely still feel hurt by how you treated them and might be hesitant to forgive you, no matter how sincerely you apologize. Making amends goes beyond merely saying you’re sorry because it involves demonstrating your earnest commitment to change.
Why Is Making Amends Part of the Recovery Process?
If you are going through a 12-step program, you’ll notice that honesty, accountability and acceptance are overarching themes. It may be self-evident why these are so challenging for people in recovery, who have become so accustomed to hiding the truth about their behavior – even from themselves.
Specifically, the eighth and ninth steps of AA address the concept of amends, including listing the people you harmed and making direct amends to them wherever possible. The benefit of working on these two steps is that they ask you to confront your mistakes, examine how you hurt others and allow those you wronged to achieve closure.
Direct and Indirect Amends
While it’s challenging to admit that you caused someone else pain, you must keep moving forward and concentrate on the things you have the power to change, not what you can’t. Ideally, after an honest assessment of how you harmed someone, you’d have a chance to make direct amends to them and actively work to fix the damage. For instance, when apologizing to someone you stole money from, you should also return the amount you took.
In some cases, you may have to make indirect amends if a relationship proves to be beyond repair or if seeing you again would cause the person further distress. Though that could be hard to accept, that doesn’t take away from the process of actively working to improve your character. Ultimately, the goal of making amends is to achieve more personal responsibility – not necessarily total forgiveness.
Progressing in Your Recovery
At Pillars Recovery, helping you heal from your substance use disorder is our primary goal. We will meet you wherever you are on your journey and determine the best treatment plan for you from our full continuum of care. We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing the disease of addiction, and that’s why we take a personalized approach with every client. To learn more about comfortable men’s and women’s addiction treatment in Orange County, contact us today.